Saturday, February 25, 2012

To Do or Dye

I've been playing with dyes lately in my attempt to create rich, permanent, dark color on Faux Bone. Prior to this, I've had great luck with a product called Krylon Fusion spray paint, a solvent type of paint for plastic, but you have to let it cure for a full 7 days. Representatives from Krylon assure me that after 7 days it is completely inert, meaning we can heat the Faux Bone as usual. Now really, we all know that I am not that patient! So I, of course, stuck it in my toaster oven after 6 hours and found the paint got goopy and stuck to the pan. Not so after 7 days...but again, I am incapable of waiting that long.

So, it was to do or dye...I would find a quick way to make black Faux Bone. Below are my findings in regards to fabric dyes and Faux Bone, with the caveat that there is much more testing to be done. But, perhaps, you'll be inspired and we can share what we learn together.

Faux Bone, being a type of non-porous PVC product does not respond well to most dyes. Standard fabric dies, including acid dyes, meant for natural fibers (aka protein based fibers), may lightly tint it, but more often than not, the dye will simply wash off with soap and water. Instead, polyester dyes need to be used. Polyester can be dyed using a dispersion dye, meaning the dye has an agent added to it that allows it to "penetrate" the polyester (in our case, the polyvinyl chloride aka PVC). Most dispersion dyes can be highly toxic due to the additive and often require really high temperatures.

However, there is a new product on the market that I found worked well. Jacquard's iDye Poly dyes, commonly found in art supply stores, dyes Faux Bone exceptionally well. Retailing for around $3.99 it is an inexpensive way to get deep colors on Faux Bone. Eight colors are available and I found that the black, brown, blue, red and purple worked the best. Be sure to mix the entire packet. I tried to save the additive in a little plastic cup so I could mix a little at a time and the additive ate through the cup! What a mess.

I repurposed a double boiler so that the Faux Bone was never in contact with the bottom of the pan. If I kept the water at a very low simmer, the Faux Bone did not soften enough to change shape, meaning I could make one of my strip beads and dye it aferwards. Fast simmers and boiling water softened Faux Bone just enough so that any shape I had created before had distorted a bit. This makes sense. Water boils at 212 degrees F, which is just about the temperature Faux Bone starts to soften and become malleable. It can dye fast, so stir and check it often. Overlapping pieces will not dye evenly. Also, obvious to most but apparently not to me, don't put it in mason jars on a hot plate unless you want the glass to crack and permanently dye your tool bench blue... your favorite shirt, and skirt, and shoe, and sock...and foot for that matter. But a small price to pay to create recklessly!

The downside to this dye is that the colors do not mix well. If you are used to mixing paint or inks, you'll be disappointed. You may mix a color that looks like a sage green, and the actual color the piece dyes is fushcia. You may add a little black to yellow, maintaining the yellow look of the dye, and the piece will come out black. There's no rhyme or reason to how the colors mix.

I will continue to look for different types of dispersion dyes (already have a few on order) that allow me more flexibility in mixing colors or offer a wider variety of colors...will let you know what I find! But for a good solid black, which has been my goal, this product gets the job done.

1 comment:

  1. Hey! I just heard you're doing Bead Fest In Texas!
    I'm marking my calendar so I can come see you!

    Mary :)